ST LUCIA-POLITICS-Opposition gearing for early poll

CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – Amidst growing speculation that Prime Minister Stephenson King will call an early general election, the main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) says it will soon identify candidates to contest the poll.

In a statement, the SLP said that party leader and former prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony will address supporters on the plans for 2010.

“It is the intention of the SLP to continue its preparations to return good governance to our country whenever the next general elections are called.

“The party’s candidate selection process which started last year will gather momentum from this month, January, and citizens can expect to begin to hear the names of persons who will be part of the next Labour Team,” the statement noted.

The SLP said that it will hold the Conference of Delegates in the southern town of Vieux Fort on January 31, while the Open Session will take place in southern village of Dennery on February 7.

In a recent address to a rally of his ruling United Workers Party (UWP), King hinted at the possibility of facing the electorate ahead of the constitutional deadline of December 2011.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister, Rufus Bousquet has dismissed reports that he intends to challenge King for the leadership of the party.

Bousquet, who was brought back into the government by King after being dismissed by the late prime minister Sir John Compton, said that his primary concern is to ensure the survival of the government and its ability to perform at its best.

“If by doing that I would help the government perform better,  then it’s something I would have to consider but if the government is moving along smoothly and working well as it is doing now, then I don’t see any reason why I should muddy the waters by creating a situation that would only cause divisions and dissention within the camp of the UWP.

“I would much prefer to see everyone working together in harmony and take this atmosphere all the way into 2011,” he said.

The UWP is expected to hold its annual convention in February.